Saturday, January 29, 2011

Bob, a life richly blessed

Over half my lifetime ago, I met this wonderful person. While I think his son is pretty great, but I am talking about my father in law, Bob Hasekamp. You know a person is pretty lucky to have extra parents in their lives. If there’s a person is as much a father to me as my own father, it’s Bob, and rightly so, I suppose. Throughout our marriage I have learned to seek his advice on many a thing, as it was always thoughtful and thought provoking. It was always practical and never self seeking. While I love my own parents so much, I have always been amazed at the depth at which my husbands relationship with own parents is. I have come to realize over the years that Bob and David are not only father and son, they are business partners and best friends. Advice from Dad is not only a sign of respect for my husband, its just the way he does things. I will admit from time to time that has frustrated me, but looking back, he’s never steered us wrong. I hope that our children will always think that highly of us and I sure hope we never disappoint them. Bob the father is a beautiful aspect of who he is, but there are so many more. Bob, the friend, is a person I would say that all around him would agree has been a blessing in many lives. Examples that come to mind are many. The one that I will mention is Bob’s relationship with Bill. No two guys in my opinion more clearly define friends and neighbors than those two. In good times and bad, they are right there together thankfully enjoying the blessings God has offered, each has attended each other’s parents funerals, each other’s children’s weddings, they worship together, have worked side by side together at fairs and so many more things, I am positive I would never tell you if I talked all day all the ways that they shown their devotion to each other as friends.
Bob, the family man to me, means more than just us kids and grandkids. Bob was an only child, with 5 first cousins. So the meaning of family is more extended for him than it is most. His cousins were growing up and are today his siblings. I know that I love my cousins and we are close, but we can’t hold a candle to the relationships that Bob has had with his cousins. Richard and George are the younger brothers, both always ready to share stories and laughs. Mary E, MarySue and Sara, the sisters, of course, who Bob has always loved bragging up their cooking or whatever else came to mind at the time. See Bob was lucky, he had those ‘siblings’ and got to enjoy all the love, but didn’t have to suffer through the day to day sibling spats that the rest of us have had. Because of this relationship he’s held for his whole lifetime with his cousins, we’ve all been blessed to have a closer relationship with their families, one that had Bob had brothers and sisters, we may not have ever known. For me, within my closest circles of my own friendships are three members of that group.
Bob the church and community minded neighbor has been a blessing in many lives as well. When something needs to be done at Tulip, I can say without a doubt for the last several years, my father in law, has been right there ready to go. He’s had a smile on his face and a willingness to serve his fellow man that is unmatched by many. He’s consistently worked in many capacities in our own church, over the years on MFA boards, working at the local and county level with 4H and FFA during fair time or any other time, rain or shine, he’s right there asking what else he can do to help.
Bob, the man of God. I am not sure that I have known to many people who have been as accepting of God’s will in their lives as Bob. As long as I have known him, which was barely a third of his lifetime, he has always been the example I go back to again and again, when I think of living a true Christian life. He’s been God’s servant in so many ways. He’s taught Sunday School, been a role model and advisor to many on their walk through faith. Even when personal times were tough, he’s never blamed God to my knowledge when a lesser person might have. And Bob has endured some pretty rough times and held his head high and kept traveling down lifes journey, all the while amazing us all.
Maybe God made Bob a farmer for all of these reasons. He’s persevered through many things in his life, not all of them easy ones, and we certainly all know the life of a farmer isn’t an easy one. Hard work and dedication are certainly the name of the game. I have always thought that farmers are closer to God than a lot of other professions, he’s kind of our business partner. One that many farmers talk to daily. Thanks for the needed rains, thanks for group of heifers who all calved easily, or the requests for help when the rains came and weren’t needed or we had to pull all the calves that spring. Bob has always been such an accepting person of whatever the outcome was, good harvest or not so good. Twin calves that the cow raised, or pulling them both, maybe losing one and have to bottle feed the other. It’s always been Gods will that ruled Bob’s life. A lesson that we could all take from him, that’s for sure.
Now I come to a part that I knew for me would be hard, so saved it for last and pray that I can get through it. Bob, the grandfather. There are 5 lights in his life, he’d tell you. He’s certainly always been a proud and supportive father, but he has said so many times that being a grandfather has been something that has amazed him beyond words. If you wanted to see his face light up regardless of the situation, just let one of those kids come into his line of vision. He was our helper last fall when Cody started HS and needed lots of extra rides into town. His health had hampered his full bore all day work hard work day of a farmer, so he was able to enjoy driving in to take Cody to school activities, it was a blessing for us as we juggled get the other three kids to their things. I think that it was blessing for Bob and Cody as well. Cody has matured to the point where he and Bob could talk on an adult level about so many aspects of life. I know that over the years, Cody will look back at some of those talks and realize that blessing over and over. Sam has always tickled Bob, with the similar quieter personalities, I think that Bob ‘gets’ Sam, probably in a way, that I know I don’t always understand myself. He was always so proud of the young man he’s becoming. Growing up on a farm, there’s always little helpers who from varying degrees at different ages loved to help Dad or Grandpa, but I think the helper that Bob got the biggest kick out of has been Jenna. Their rides over to Amish country to deliver hay were always educational in his report, to which David and I always wondered just what all she said and were secretly grateful that they didn’t return with a pony. ‘Ram=pa’ and Seth have gotten closer in the last few years, since his older siblings have all been in school. I am sure that ‘educational’ would be one way Bob would describe some of their talks. Then there’s our little nephew Marshall. Lunchtime at Grandma and Grandpa’s and four wheeler rides have been some of the outward highlights of their time spent together. Marshall is definitely an eager and willing worker, just like Pa Pa, especially when it comes to riding on a tractor with him. He’s looking so forward to our niece being born, I hope and pray they get to meet face to face.
I know that I could talk all day about the amazing ways this man has blessed our lives, but part of that blessing is that each of you have so many wonderful memories. His legacy of love, friendship, and service will be felt for beyond his lifetime. I know I count him as one of my many blessings.
Praying for my Father in Law,
From Tulip~

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

It's Wrestling Season

It's that time of year. The roads are slick and nasty, the evenings are long. It's winter. Kinda dismal and icky to most. I would tend to agree. Until I start thinking about that along with winter comes WRESTLING SEASON. I am not sure that I love it like I do Football, but it is right up fighting for second place with professional baseball (which isn't far away, thank goodness!) This is the time of year when Sam can

tell you what he weighs down to the ounce. When we go to bed early on Friday nights as we have to get up long before the sun rises and head to a gym somewhere at least an hour away, to spend the better part of our day with hundreds of other devoted wrestling parents. Ten hours of sitting for ten minutes of wrestling. When your son is having a good year, which Sam is this year, its not even ten minutes of wrestling. But that's okay. Like many of the other activities we are in, we have made our wrestling friends. We have our cattle showing friends, State Fair friends, friends of parents in each of the kids classes, so sure we may as well have our wrestling friends too. It's that parent who's child wrestles yours every week, sometimes we win, sometimes they do. They stand in the bullpen laughing and telling jokes, then they step on the mat and its all business. As soon as the match is over, a handshake and hug and on to the next match.

With all sports and many other things in life, we see examples of the best and the worst humanity has to offer. Yes sadly there's that dad hollaring at the kid after the match, but thankfully that is rare. The things that I find most heartwarming is watching two boys leave the mat and the mom of the winner hugging and comforting the young man who just lost. I don't think that kids who only participate in team sports can ever truly get wrestling. It's so personal. When you win, YOU won! And when you lost, yes YOU lost. There's no one else to blame it on. It's glaringly obvious. But thankfully the brotherhood of wrestlers and their families all realize that and win or lose, the whole group is right there supporting those kids in an intensity that I really do not believe exists with other sports. I played basketball and softball growing up and while yes our parents cheered and supported us, we did it as a team, and you never felt alone. I can't imagine how it feels to walk off the mat as the referee holds your opponents arm in the air.

All of that being said, the adrenaline rush of wrestling I have to think is hard to top. I know as a parent and a spectator its pretty intense. Like a friend said, its a fight with rules. It gets under our skin at a basic level, survival. To be successful has to be the greatest feeling in the world. To learn the discipline to also lose like a gentleman is a life skill that will take these young men far as well.

I will admit that I mourned the loss of basketball in my life 5 yrs ago when my boys started wrestling. But I am proudly a 'Mat Momma' now. Sam is having a great season, only two losses. I believe he has around 6 pins for the season. He wrestles again weekend after next at Jefferson City Jays tournament, and possibly one or two more, then its Finals time in March. Here's hoping we have 'plans' the last weekend in March, and we make it to the Hearnes Center for the State tournament.

Sitting in my office, listening to my supposedly sick littlest grappler run up and down the hallway of the 'new part' of the house (is there Crack in a Z-pac?)

From Tulip~